The final table is set in the 2021 World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event. The field of 6,650 total entries has been narrowed, over the course of 12 consecutive days of action, down to just nine contenders for the championship bracelet and the first-place prize of $8,000,000.
This year’s WSOP was billed as a ‘return to normal’ after 2020 saw the cancellation of the series in the summer, the introduction of the WSOP Online, and a one-off hybrid online and live main event. Much like the last standard main event held in 2019, this year features a final table headlined by an experienced German poker player with a sizable chip lead. In 2019 that man was Hossein Ensan, who went on to win it all. This year, 31-year-old high-stakes tournament regular Koray Aldmemir is the player to beat.
Aldemir will enter the final table with 140,000,000. That’s good for 175 big blinds when action resumes and represents roughly 35 percent of the total chips in play. In addition to the lead, Aldemir is also by far the most accomplished tournament player at the final table. The German-born pro, now living in Vienna, Austria, has more than $12.3 million in prior live tournament earnings, with multiple seven-figure scores under his belt and plenty of experience playing with massive amounts of money on the line. His largest payday came when he finished third in the $111,1111 buy-in One Drop High Roller at the series for more than $2.1 million.
Aldemir held the lead for much of day 7, but truly pulled away from the pack thanks to his elimination of Ark Onikul in 12th place ($470,000). With a board of Q987Q and more than 30 million already in the middle, Onikul checked with J2 for a rivered flush. Aldemir moved all-in with Q8 for a rivered full house and Onikul made the call for his last 26.3 million. Aldemir showed his queens full to rake in the massive pot and become the first and only player to surpass the 100 million mark on the leaderboard.
George Holmes bagged up the second largest stack behind Aldemir. The 49-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia was down to just one big blind at one point during playdown to the final table, but managed to quadruple up shortly after that to start an incredible comeback. He later doubled up with a flopped two pair against the top pair, weak kicker that Argentian rapper Alejandro Lococo turned creatively turned into a bluff on the river.
Holmes, who is playing in only his second main event, has only one prior live tournament cash under his belt: a 213th-place finish in the 2019 main event for $50,855.
Lococo, a 29-year-old musical artist better known as ‘Papo MC’, bagged up the third-largest stack (46,800,000). Like Holmes and most of the final table outside of Aldemir, he has already blown away his prior largest tournament payday simply by making the final table. The remaining nine players have all locked up at least $1,000,000 for their deep runs in this event.
27-year-old cash game grinder Joshua Remitio ended day 7 with the next-largest stack of 40,000,000. The Arizona native has only been playing poker professionally for a few years, and recently moved to Las Vegas. He told Card Player that he primarily plays $5-$10 cash games at Bellagio, and that this is his first time playing the main event. “I actually hate tournaments, but here I am,” said Remitio, who might be changing his tune after securing a seven-figure payday in this event.
26-year-old Jack Oliver (30,400,000) is one of two players at the final table from the United Kingdom, joined by 31-year-old short stack Jareth East (8,300,000). East is the more accomplished of the two UK players, with more $800,000 in prior recorded scores including $557,658 payday in an online WPT event.
Ozgur Secilmis caught the attention of the poker world earlier in the main event thanks to the wild hand he won as the money bubble loomed on day 3. The 36-year-old Turkish player flopped a full house, sixes full of fours, against the quad fours flopped by Chang Liu. Secilmis turned a fourth six, hitting a one-outer to set up a trainwreck for Liu. All of the chips went in on the river and Liu was sent to the rail in brutal fashion while Secilmis took down a massive pot that propelled him up the leaderboard. Check out the hand in a clip from PokerGO’s exclusive live coverage below.
Quads versus Quads near the @WSOP Main Event money bubble!!!
Watch now, only on PokerGO!
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) November 12, 2021
38-year-old poker pro Hye Park (13,500,000), who served as a U.S. Marine from 2001-2005, will look to add to his half-a-million in prior tournament earnings in a major way at this final table. 34-year-old poker pro player Chase Bianchi (12,100,000) is the lone bracelet winner at the final table, and he will be looking to run up his stack and take a shot at making his second bracelet be the one-of-a-kind championship bracelet, which is made of 10k yellow and white gold and encrusted with 2,2230 rubies, as well as white and black diamonds.
The final table was set when World Poker Tour Fallsview Poker Classic winner Demosthenes Kiriopoulos got all-in with A3 and was called by the Q10 of Aldemir. The Q95 flop gave Aldemir top pair and Kiriopoulos the nut flush draw. The 7 on the turn was of no help to Kiriopoulos, though, and left him in need of a spade or an ace on the river. Neither came, as the J locked up the pot for Aldemir to add to his already substantial chip lead. Kiriopoulos earned $585,000 as the tenth-place finisher.
Other notable eliminations on day 7 included rising tournament star Jesse Lonis (25th – $241,800), accomplished player Andreas Kniep (18th – $305,000), three-time bracelet winner Chance Kornuth (16th – $305,000), and 2019 $25,000 buy-in PokerStars NL Hold’em Players Championship winner Ramon Colillas (14th – $380,050). Kornuth’s run came to an end when he ran AK into the AA of a resurgent Holmes on his comeback trail from the brink of elimination.
The final nine players will return at 4:00 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 16 to blinds of 400,000-800,000 and a big blind ante of 800,000.
Here is a look at the chip counts heading into the final table:
Final nine photo credit: PokerGO / Antonio Abrego.